2014 marked a bumper year for the tire industry. The declining price of natural rubber helped substantial cost reduction of tire vendors; the tire price performed more stably than the costs although it dropped as well. Despite the shrunk revenue in 2014, almost all tire producers saw higher profit margins. This situation continues in 2015, reflected in the falling price of natural rubber and the slight decline in the tire price.
What comes to the momentous event in the tire industry in 2015 is that the state-owned Sinochem is probable to acquire the shares of the world's fifth largest tire company -- Pirelli to demonstrate the strength of China in the capital field, which is a blockbuster in the tire industry. For a long time, Chinese tire makers have not found a way into the field of sedan OE Tires, so they primarily target RT and truck tire markets. Pirelli is the most important tire supplier for BMW, and the second largest supplier for Mercedes-Benz, also one of Ford's main suppliers. Through the acquisition of Pirelli, Chinese vendors have begun to supply OE Tires for luxury cars.
In future, Chinese companies may make more acquisitions to expand the market, obtain technologies and avoid the anti-dumping investigation of the United States. Finland-based Nokian, America-based Titan and CTP, Russia-based Nizhnekamskshina and OJSC, as well as Belarus-based JSC Belshina Belarus are likely to be potentially taken over. If Chinese companies take over Nokian, they will seize the excellent winter tire technology.
Chinese tire enterprises, especially private ones, have a high debt ratio and high financial leverage, which are vulnerable to be in bankruptcy in case of a slight decline in the market. For example, Deruibao Tire earned the revenue of close to USD1 billion with the 35th ranking worldwide in 2013, but it suddenly announced bankruptcy in February 2015.
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